SEPTA will not resume sales this week of special Regional Rail transit passes for the papal visit in September, following the Monday crash of its Web sales site shortly after it went live.
The transit agency said Tuesday that it might continue trying to fix its e-commerce site to handle the high demand for the special passes, or it might hire an outside vendor to sell the passes online. SEPTA did not say when sales would resume.
"An analysis of the activity yesterday shows that 54,000 customers visited the e-commerce site within the first minute after the site was launched," SEPTA said in a statement Tuesday.
The heavy demand "shows us that the available passes - 175,000 each for Saturday, Sept. 26, and Sunday, Sept. 27 - will be sold quickly once sales relaunch," SEPTA said.
"The most important consideration for SEPTA is to manage the volume of users coming to the site, and to make sure that the passes are purchased by those who want to come to see the pope, or need to travel for work and other regular commuting needs."
The e-commerce site, developed by SEPTA, crashed as would-be buyers flocked to the site when sales began at 9 a.m. Monday.
Employees of two companies hired by SEPTA to help design and run the sales site, CapTech of Wayne and Zivtech of Philadelphia, were working with SEPTA staff Monday and Tuesday to try to fix the technical issues.
SEPTA plans to sell 175,000 one-day rail passes for each of the two days of Pope Francis' visit. Customers must have a papal pass to ride on Regional Rail trains on each of the two days.
The passes will cost $10 for each day, and riders will need to select a station and a travel time when purchasing the passes. Buyers will be limited to 10 passes per purchase online.
SEPTA has also postponed the planned sale of three-day papal passes for SEPTA's subways, trolleys, and buses. SEPTA had said those passes would go on sale next Monday, but said Tuesday it would wait until the Regional Rail sales problems are fixed.
SEPTA plans to eventually sell 750,000 of those transit passes, good for Sept. 26 through 28. On subways, trolleys, and buses, customers can also use tokens, and regular weekly and monthly passes.
In New Jersey, PATCO, which operates a rail line between South Jersey and Center City, sales continued to go smoothly for special one- and two-day electronic fare cards for the papal visit.
PATCO will sell one-day passes for $5 and two-day passes for $10 on its website, www.ridepatco.org/PapalVisit/, and at its Broadway station ticket office in Camden (from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday) and Woodcrest station in Cherry Hill (from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays and 4 to 7 p.m. Thursdays).
Current holders of PATCO Freedom cards can use their existing Freedom cards at $2.50 per one-way trip.